Feb. 14, 2022
The Double Edged Sword of Self-Doubt, Part 2
I don’t have what it takes. I’m not smart enough, educated enough, important enough, experienced enough, brave enough, compassionate enough, or understanding enough. If you tuned in to part one of this blog (if not, click on the link to read it now), then hopefully, you’ve spent the last…
I don’t have what it takes. I’m not smart enough, educated enough, important enough, experienced enough, brave enough, compassionate enough, or understanding enough.
If you tuned in to part one of this blog (if not, click on the link to read it now), then hopefully, you’ve spent the last two weeks rounding up those little foxes of self-doubt. If you’re like me, you probably have a corral full of them. Feeding them is getting expense. After all, it’s costing us valuable time when we could be living out our purpose instead.
So what are we to do with all this self-doubt? If we can’t get rid of it, then we must put it to good use.
Start again by being honest about who it is we are really doubting. We think we doubt ourselves when actually it’s God we’re doubting. We don’t trust His sovereignty, His wisdom, His goodness, His ability to forgive, or His love for us. Whatever it is, we’re afraid He’s not going to come through when we need Him.
And so like King Saul, we fall on our sword of self-doubt. We give up, turn away, refuse to engage. Better to end it all than risk failure, right?
When we surrender, we don’t just surrender a dream or longing. We aren’t just surrendering from something, we are surrendering to something—or rather, to someone. When we let our doubts take us out of the fight, we lay down our arms and submit to the enemy.
What if we flipped this double edged sword over and considered the other side?
What if we saw our self-doubts as merely an accurate assessment of our abilities?
Deep inside, we all know that even our best and most diligent efforts will fall short. On some subterranean level of our soul, we understand that we are grossly inadequate. We are imperfect beings working in an imperfect world.
Recognizing our inadequacies doesn’t have to equate to self defeating doubt. A fair assessment of our capabilities is a wise place to start in any endeavor.
Do any of these sound familiar?
I’m not educated enough to home school my children. I’m not eloquent enough to speak up for the unborn. I’m not smart enough to run for school board, city council, or State Representative. I’m not brave enough to take the gospel to the lost. I’m not knowledgeable enough to defend the truth, end human trafficking, stop the rampant number of suicides, or eliminate the drug problem that is destroying our communities. I can’t end poverty or cure hate. I can’t even bring about peace at the dinner table, much less in the world.
Don’t be offended when I say this, but you’re right. You’re not and can’t, and neither can I.
It is precisely when we recognize our lack that we can turn to God and receive His plenty.
What’s so helpful about the other side to our sword of self-doubt? It’s a side that can only be wielded by the hand of God. When we see our doubts as merely evidence of how much we need God, then we will see that it is He who lifts the sword on our behalf. It was never ours to swing alone. HIs mighty hand covers our weak one, we move and fight in His strength.
God isn’t glorified by the things we accomplish on our own. He’s glorified by the things He accomplishes through us …. those things that are far beyond our abilities.
Will we stumble? Will we fail?
To these questions I say, so what if we do?
What is the worst thing that can happen if we are walking in the will of God by the power and strength of God?
Let’s ask Peter. In Matthew 14, we read the account of Peter’s attempt to walk on water. It started when Peter told the Lord he was willing, and Jesus said, “Come.” Peter responded eagerly, and certainly with no small measure of faith. But once out of the boat, the doubts set in. Instead of taking them captive and placing them at the water soaked feet of Jesus, he let the strength of the wind and the churning of the waves direct his attention. Finally, in a moment of desperation as he began to sink, he cried out “Lord, save me!”
And here’s where our comfort is found. Matthew 14:31 says, “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught hold of him.”
What’s the worst that can happen if we start to sink after we get out of the boat? We can find ourselves in the hands of Jesus.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2 Timothy 1:7
We must stop rowing the boat of fear with the oars of self-doubt. Because if we aren’t willing to get our feet wet in the oceans of faith, we just might miss out on the grand something God wants to accomplish with and through us.
God can change that pen full of little foxes we’ve been collecting into roaring lions of wisdom, strength, and power to be unleashed on our behalf as we pursue our God-given purpose.
Care to share? What are the names of some of your most persistent little foxes? What names will you give to the lions God uses to replace the foxes?
Thanks to everyone who joined in the conversation last time. And congratulations to Deb DeArmond! Deb won the autographed copy of Shattered Dreams to Treasured Truths: Transforming Life’s Disappointments by Donna Nabors.
Used with permission of the author, Lori Altebaumer. To read more of Lori’s writing, visit www.lorialtebaumer.com.